Business

Hostess sale of Wonder bread nears completion

One of Hostess’s unions is objecting the the sale because the potential buyer has not promised to save any jobs.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press/File

One of Hostess’s unions is objecting the the sale because the potential buyer has not promised to save any jobs.

NEW YORK — Wonder bread could soon start appearing in school lunchboxes again.

A person familiar with the situation said a bid by Flowers Foods to buy Wonder and several other bread brands from bankrupt Hostess Brands Inc. was met with no qualifying competing offers. The individual requested anonymity as the auction process is private.

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Hostess has not been making any of its cakes and breads since late November, when it said it was going out of business and closed its plants following years of financial struggles. About 18,000 jobs were lost.

Flowers’ $360 million bid includes Nature’s Pride, Butternut, Home Pride, and Merita breads, along with 20 bakeries and 38 depots. An auction will still be held Thursday for a separate $30 million bid by Flowers for Beefsteak. The source said a competing offer for that brand was submitted by Grupo Bimbo of Mexico, which makes Thomas’ English muffins and Entenmann’s cakes.

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Any sales would be subject to approval by a bankruptcy judge on March 19.

Hostess has also picked opening bidders, known as ‘‘stalking horses,’’ for its snack cakes. A joint offer from two investment firms, Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC, was picked as the lead bid for Twinkies and other snack cakes.

Hostess’s chief executive, Greg Rayburn, has said he expects that auction to be ‘‘wild and wooly.’’

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McKee Foods, which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, was picked as the lead bidder for Drake’s cakes, which include Devil Dogs, Funny Bones, and Yodels. The deadline to submit competing offers for the snack cakes isn’t until mid-March.

Flowers Foods of Thomasville, Ga., makes Tastykakes and breads including Nature’s Own.

Hostess has said its six bread brands combined generated just under $1 billion in sales last year, with Wonder bread accounting for about half of that. Flowers Foods, which generates about $3 billion in annual sales, said it expects the deals to add to its earning this year.

In a bankruptcy court filing Monday, Hostess’s second largest union objected to the sale of the breads, noting that Flowers Foods ‘‘has not committed to preserve a single job.’’

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